We have previously discussed the controversy surrounding University of Missouri Assistant Professor of Communication Melissa Click who was caught on videotape obstructing a student journalist and calling for “muscle” to prevent him from covering a protest. She was charged with assault in that case. Now, a new videotape has emerged showing Click yelling profanities at police officers who were trying to clear protestors blocking traffic on campus. The new videotape below will obviously not help the already suspended academic.
The latest controversy involves a protest at the October 10th Homecoming Parade. Click is seen with student protesters blocking the Homecoming Parade route. When officers attempt to direct the group back onto the sidewalk (a manifestly reasonable act), Click intervenes and tells the officers to “get your hands off the children” and then uses a profanity when an officer grabs her shoulder to direct her back onto the sidewalk.
The response from the Administration was fast and furious. Interim Chancellor Hank Foley stated that “Her conduct and behavior are appalling, and I am not only disappointed, I am angry that a member of our faculty acted this way . . . Her actions caught on camera last October are just another example of a pattern of misconduct by Dr. Click – most notably her assault on one of our students while seeking ‘muscle’ during a highly volatile situation on Carnahan Quadrangle in November.”
Click told media that she has made mistakes but “My mistake is just one part of who I am. I want to stay at MU. I deserve to be heard and I deserve to be treated fairly, and I’m going to fight to be treated fairly. I think it’s everybody’s right to be treated fairly.” She certainly should be treated fairly but her actions are inimical to the role of an academic, particularly a faculty member in the communications department (in the matter of the original controversy of obstructing a journalist). In the latest video, she is resisting and being abusive toward police who are trying to move students safely to the sidewalk. Click clearly should have free speech protections for her own advocacy, but these actions go beyond the pale for an academic on campus.
What do you think?